House OKs bills denying services to
CAPITOL MEDIA SERVICES
By Howard Fischer
PHOENIX - The House of Representatives
approved two bills to deny services to people not here legally, and then
voted to declare English the official language of the state and ban printing
election materials in any other language.
Thursday's votes on services to
illegal entrants are outgrowths of Proposition 200, which was approved at
the ballot box in November. Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said the two new
measures simply complete what voters started.
In fact, he said, the actions became
necessary only because Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard issued a
formal legal opinion that the initiative denying public benefits to people
who crossed the border illegally covers only a limited number of state
All three measures now go to the
The measure on official English, which
would amend the state constitution, eventually would have to be approved by
House Bill 2030, the broader of the
two measures on services, would put a number of benefits out of reach of
those who are neither citizens nor legal residents. These include enrolling
in family literacy and adult education classes, being eligible for
state-subsidized child care, and receiving help with utility payments.
It would also specify that someone has
to be here legally to be admitted to a state university or community
House Bill 2264 would require illegal
entrants to pay higher out-of-state tuition and would deny them any fee
waivers, grants or any other type of financial assistance, even if they
earned it through merit or academic performance.
The constitutional amendment would
require official actions of state and local government to be conducted only
in English. That includes not only laws but also public proceedings,
publications, programs and policies.
Voters approved a similar measure in
1988. But that was voided by the state Supreme Court, which said it was so
broad it would preclude public employees from providing even basic
information to people in their native languages.